BWW Reviews: Go BEYOND the Mundane @ The El Portal

Beyond conceived & directed by Aurelien Roulin El Portal Mainstage through August 1

Described as a mix of Cirque and French cabaret, Beyond has music -songs and a lot of dance, aerial acts, a contortionist, beautiful girls, well-toned handsome boys and many added surprises to please the senses. Conceived by Aurelien Roulin as an international type of variety cabaret, its prime goal is to entertain - and that it does quite copiously.

Dressed in gorgeously colorful authentic Parisien costumes, the entire ensemble dance in celebration of the 40s in Boogie Woogie jazz style and later switch gears, crossing the pond, so to speak, to do a high kicking can-can with equal agility and panache. There is also a fabulous Bollywood or Persian dance Forbidden Temple that closes the first half with an abundant array of color and flesh on display. There's even an exotic striptease with a bevy of beauties - but most tastefully performed, Shadows of Desire.

Ganchimeg Gyunchimeg is the adorable contortionist whose spectacular body twists and turns amaze. She also pops up dancing in other segments of the show. Sunny Soriano is also terrific as Aurelien Roulin's dance partner in Love Birds and the awesome New Birth where the two literally float out over the audience wrapped only in a delicate sheet attached to a cable. This will take your breath away! Roulin's solo on the red ribbons is equally tantalizing and breathtaking. Ripley Rader is a delightfully pleasant chanteuse as she recreates in song Edith Piaf La Merveilleuse Edith. An audience participation with two men selected, blindfolded and dressed as can-can dancers is hilarious, especially when they try to perfrom the high kicks. And the can-can itself is fast, furious and sheer ecstasy. Alex David is precious as the Dreamer who leads the audience in and out of the numbers like a Cirque clown: his awkward movements - on purpose! - and silent humorous business are all fun to watch.

Praise as well to company members/dancers: Rachel Bowman, Arthur Davis III, Christine Ivy, Liz LeGrande, David Matz, Yusuf Nazir, Brittany O'Connor, Jill Otte, Michael Pena, Kavita Rao, Sarah Romanoswky and Jennifer Shields.

This is a fun and exciting show for most ages; I'd leave the little ones at home. Though it's a clean show, there are provocative sexual allusions. Much of the show's success comes from Aurelien Roulin's artistic vision and unyielding determination and from the staff of the El Portal for their love and incredible support. Go and enjoy through August 1 only!

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For tickets and performance times and dates, call: 866-811-4111 or 818-508-4200


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From This Author Don Grigware